Big Not-So-Secret Secret! – feat. Summer Salads

I guess I should let you guys in on a little secret… I’m moving away! Not away away, rest assured, but only to Montreal. My amazing and talented soup-chef / girlfriend and I are moving in together at the end of the month of June!!! Other than being super excited to move out of my shoe box and into a bigger apartment with this amazing girl, I get to explore a new neighborhood filled with coffee shops, restaurants, and a bunch of health food stores and ethnic food stores!

The one thing I noticed while living in Quebec City is that it isn’t a very multicultural city. There are very few ethnic restaurants or grocery stores in the city; the only ones that I’ve seen or heard about are very hard to get to if you don’t have a car. I’m really looking forward to moving to a city with a multitude of cultures so I can try out new recipes and learn a bit more about different cultures.

All of this is very exciting, but there’s a lot of logistics behind this move. Since our official apartment isn’t available until the 4th of July, this means that I can plan our going away party: and planning a going away party means planning a menu. What better to bring to an outside summer going away party than easy, fresh salads!

I’m not talking leafy green salads with Ranch dressing. I’m talking salads made with fresh vegetables from the garden… Or you know, fresh veggies from the farmers market or the superstore.

My two favorite salads are my Nonna’s tomato salad and my new broccoli and apple salad. These two salads take about 10 minutes to make in total. Yes, 10 minutes to make not one, but two salads! I’m not kidding! They are perfect if you get invited to an impromptu dinner party and don’t know what to bring.

Nonna’s Tomato Salad

  • 4 or 5 medium tomatoes, sliced/diced/slivered
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced (TO TASTE)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar (regular or raspberry) or Red Wine vinegar
  • Oregano
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Slice up your tomatoes and onions and place into a bowl. Pour over your olive oil and vinegar: aim for a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but you can eyeball it and make sure you taste test! Add a dash of oregano, salt and pepper and there you have it!

This Mediterranean inspired salad will leave you dreaming of sail boats, white sand and blue seas.

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Broccoli and Apple Salad

  • One head of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • One green apple, cut into bite size piece
  • Sunflower seeds or Pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

To start, cut your broccoli and steam it for 2 to 3 minutes. I like mine still crunchy, so once it’s to your liking, run the florets under cold water to stop them from cooking.

In a large mixing/serving bowl, toss in your chopped apple, steamed florets, and toasted seeds. Shake up the dressing ingredients in a separate jar and drizzle a bit on the salad, then toss. I used half the dressing for the salad, and kept the other half for those that like it a little saucier. A nice touch is crumbled feta or goats cheese!

The dressing is not too sweet, or too tangy, so it goes perfectly with the tang of the green apple and the crunch of the broccoli!

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So there you have it! Two simple, yet delicious, side salads to have on hand for a dinner party, BBQ, or everyday lunches!

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